Anyone who hears David versus Goliath instantly remembers a story about how a smaller person was able to defeat a giant in a battle through miraculous ways. Rarely do we come across a David in the automotive industry. A car that would actually be that good but also better than several cars that are touted to be better than it is. I feel the new Ford Endeavor could be the David we have been yearning to find. But is it? Read on!
The old Ford Endeavour was a revolutionary vehicle because it kick started the trend of butch and dominating SUVs on the road. People just felt they could showcase some “dadagiri” (dominance) on the road to the other poor road users. The road presence it demanded was startling and soon enough, it gained a little cult status amidst the politicians, celebrities, and several attention seekers. But as a vehicle, it was 1980s itself. The engine was loud and rough. The ride was so bumpy that it made a horse carriage feel like a Rolls Royce. The middle row of seats had no concept of under thigh support and spare parts were hilariously exorbitantly priced. Right then, the new Endeavour had to have all this sorted at least.
So when I finally saw the new Endeavour up close, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it still maintains the butch looks and it would still scare the auto rickshaw in front to death. The rectangle shape has changed to a more round and curved look but yet maintaining excellent proportions to complete the look. Me likey. I think it is one of the better-looking SUVs in the market today actually. The car I have with me is the 3.2 Titanium version so it has its fair share of chrome around and the alloys also has a shade of chrome, which actually look good. So far so good then. Phew.
Next up, I open the heavy driver door and manage the herculean task of hauling myself inside the car. Once I am done panting and finally catch my breath after the trek up the car, I instantly find the perfect driving position. The seats themselves have great support and are actually very comfortable. The interiors have a very minimalistic look and it has a huge screen on the center console that is very well integrated to the design of the cabin. The steering wheel is very much similar to what is available on the Explorer that is sold in abroad markets. The positivity carries on.
Finally the time comes to slot the key and twist it and bring the monster to life. I kind of feel that Ford missed a trick by not providing a push button start to this but I guess it leaves them to mend something in the mid life facelift, whenever that comes. So there is a audible clatter when the mammoth of the engine is started but it quickly settles into a silent idle. This engine is a 3.2-liter, 5 cylinder engine that puts out almost 200 bhp and almost 450 nm of torque. It is mated to a 6-speed torque converter and this engine can be had only with the automatic. The smaller 2.2 engine has options for a manual and automatic. But come on, the engine to have for the true petrol head has to be this 3.2.
Slot the gearlever into D and let go of the brake and you are treated to a calm start. This engine is so calm that you might not even notice the grunt this engine possesses. Find an open road and stomp your heavy foot on the throttle and watch this 2-ton beast just go past the speed limit. This does not feel like a 2 ton SUV. Any speed you are, just mash the throttle and the gearbox is always in the right gear and keeps the engine on boil. This results in almost instantaneous torque at any speed. This thing will pick up its skirt and turn from a ballerina to Usain Bolt in a fraction of a second. It is surreal. Bowled over? You bet I surely am.
I hear this vehicle has one of the most sorted 4wd systems so why not just try it out right? So I turn off the tarmac roads and head for the sandy sections. First things first, you do not need to brake for any bumps. At least I did not and the Endeavour took everything with aplomb. It just ate the humps, dips and rough stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You hardly feel anything in the cabin even when throwing this beast over the rough stuff. And mind you, I am not even an off road expert as such but we never got stuck and the Endeavour just annihilated any obstacle with such ease. Respect. (Do have a look at the video review to see what all we did.)
The Endeavour rides the same way on tarmac as well. It is so sure footed and comfortable that you have no idea what speeds you are doing or what RPM the engine is running unless you look at the digital tachometer. But this does mean that such enthusiasm will return horrible fuel economy. In the city, it is possible to get 7-8 kmpl but that too if you’re gentle. Yes if you’re gentle. And the price is little steep because this very car is now 34 lacs on road. It is a tad steep but much cheaper than the new Toyota Fortuner. And I bet the new Fortuner cannot do as much as this car can.
The Fortuner certainly does not have a cheat mode, which the Endeavour has. So to engage this cheat mode, one has to flick the terrain response sort of knob into sand mode and push the gearlever into manual mode. Then just floor the throttle and watch the speedo needle rise faster than the sun does each morning. This mode I believe can help the Endeavour put a lot of vehicles in segments higher as well to shame in a drag race.
The last time I had so much fun in an SUV was the Land Rover Discovery Sport. That is an SUV that can do the road and off the road equally well. The Endeavour does all the Discovery Sport can do. The Endeavour has similar equipment levels. The sunroof et all are standard on the Titanium variant. But then the Discovery Sport costs better part of 60 lacs and the Endeaovour? 34 lacs. Bargain of the century? Remember David versus Goliath? I think we may have just found the David of the automotive industry.
Here is the video review of the Ford Endeavour!